Kudos to the Forest Service in a Sedona Trail Decommission Project- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Kudos to the Forest Service in a Sedona Trail Decommission Project

    I was riding up the Girdner trail today where it intersects Dry Creek Road when I came to the intersection of a short 300 yard bypass trail that looks like the Forest Service has chosen to decommission. I have always felt like the trail sucked in the uphill direction, but I know other riders who like it so it must have had some merit.

    That being said the trail was certainly made unrideable. I think the Forest Service must have knocked down or cut down every dead tree close to the trail and piled the broken trunks and limbs on top of the trail.

    I would say they accomplished their goal of eliminating any future riding of the trail, but they missed the mark on aesthetics. I used to say Sedona is a beautiful place, but I sure wouldn't have thought that if I were close to that area.

    I will take some pictures later and share them with everyone viewing this thread in the next couple days, so you can feel good about how your tax dollars are being used for trail projects. If I had been one of the workers on that project, I probably would have gotten a real since of accomplishment.

    Great job guys (and gals?). .

  2. #2
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    Traildoc; do you know how or if the FS will include any number of social trails into their official trail system? I see that the FS has been quite active in the whole sedona/verde valley this winter is decommissioning user created trails. The most serious being made in the shade over by Bike and Bean. Signs going up with threats of $250-500 fines and the CFR's listed to crack down on two wheelers. With these signs going up and not any other means of communication from the FS (I'll have to look at the FS website too), what will be the actions of bikers and the feds? My past experience is that someone will remove the signs, and will reroute around the downed wood, thus creating yet another braided trail that is often less thought out from the original trail.
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    it's too bad the Shadies didn't get incorporated into the system like Llama; the original trail was extremely well thought out. IMO. It would seem like a no brainer that there needs to be a trail on that side of 179 connecting VOC and Templeton. Keeps the bikes off of the Red Rock Pathway.

    As Canadianbacon pointed out to me yesterday, the USFS is destroying trails without NEPA studies. Don't they have to comply with this statute before proceeding?
    Last edited by rockman; 02-02-2009 at 10:48 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalkpaw
    Traildoc; do you know how or if the FS will include any number of social trails into their official trail system? I see that the FS has been quite active in the whole sedona/verde valley this winter is decommissioning user created trails. The most serious being made in the shade over by Bike and Bean. Signs going up with threats of $250-500 fines and the CFR's listed to crack down on two wheelers. With these signs going up and not any other means of communication from the FS (I'll have to look at the FS website too), what will be the actions of bikers and the feds? My past experience is that someone will remove the signs, and will reroute around the downed wood, thus creating yet another braided trail that is often less thought out from the original trail.
    Chalk:

    I have no idea what the Forest Service is thinking about the well designed social trails in Sedona. I would think that some of the trails are so well built (like Made in the Shade) that they may reincorporate them in the system eventually. It seems logical to me that twenty years from now that a new Forest Service regime will want more trails for people to recreate on and that trail will eventually be reopened. It served a great purpose in keeping riders of Bell Rock Pathway and since it was in a wash it didn't have sustainable issues.
    Last edited by traildoc; 02-02-2009 at 11:43 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by traildoc
    I was riding up the Girdner trail today where it intersects Dry Creek Road when I came to the intersection of a short 300 yard bypass trail that looks like the Forest Service has chosen to decommission. I have always felt like the trail sucked in the uphill direction, but I know other riders who like it so it must have had some merit.

    That being said the trail was certainly made unrideable. I think the Forest Service must have knocked down or cut down every dead tree close to the trail and piled the broken trunks and limbs on top of the trail.

    I would say they accomplished their goal of eliminating any future riding of the trail, but they missed the mark on aesthetics. I used to say Sedona is a beautiful place, but I sure wouldn't have thought that if I were close to that area.

    I will take some pictures later and share them with everyone viewing this thread in the next couple days, so you can feel good about how your tax dollars are being used for trail projects. If I had been one of the workers on that project, I probably would have gotten a real since of accomplishment.

    Great job guys (and gals?). .
    mebbe if some yahoos did not build the trail in the first place, this would not have been done?

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    Quote Originally Posted by yetisurly
    mebbe if some yahoos did not build the trail in the first place, this would not have been done?
    That's one way to look at it.

  7. #7
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    Damn all those who build illegal trails, even tho they are almost always way sweet and well thought out. I want to be lumped with the masses and ride in single file up shultz creek and round broken arrow all day long. I never want my riding to progress beyond the ability to ride a perfectly groomed path. That really sounds like fun to me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj
    Damn all those who build illegal trails, even tho they are almost always way sweet and well thought out. I want to be lumped with the masses and ride in single file up shultz creek and round broken arrow all day long. I never want my riding to progress beyond the ability to ride a perfectly groomed path. That really sounds like fun to me!
    I think you're completely missing the point. The point being: why advertise?
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    At least up here in Flag, I feel that the socail trails have done lots of good by keeping encounters with hikers/ equestrians to a minimum. I know that I can ride as fast as I want and I am not going to spook a horse or run down a hiker. The lack of trail user conflicts helps to support the social trail network, out of sight, out of mind. thats my point

  10. #10
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    Hey, I'd like to propose that we collectively start to use the correct term for the trails that fall outside of the local FS system: "Non-System Trails".

    Unless you have photographic evidence to the contrary that a "non-system" trail was "built" "illegally" I think it is inaccurate and unwise to call that trail an "illegal trail".

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    Quote Originally Posted by CANADIANBACON
    Hey, I'd like to propose that we collectively start to use the correct term for the trails that fall outside of the local FS system: "Non-System Trails".

    Unless you have photographic evidence to the contrary that a "non-system" trail was "built" "illegally" I think it is inaccurate and unwise to call that trail an "illegal trail".
    Bacon:

    It has been my experience in discussing Sedona trails that anything that isn't a system trail is a social trail. An unauthorized wilderness trail would be called an illegal trail. Since sooooo many of the non-wilderness trails start from neighborhoods the term social trail seems to be the norm. Of course you are welcome to call them what ever you like.

    On the last Sunday's ride we passed some hikers on a social trail. As we passed them we exchanged pleasantries and they did the same, so the term social trail seems to fit.

  12. #12
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    Doc:

    I agree. I like the term Social Trails and agree with you that it is descriptive and fitting. I choose to use "non-system trail" because it can't be co-opted.

    I don't know if you are aware but, more recently in Sedona people who use "Social Trails" are being branded as law breakers and the like by some influential groups. Where conversely there are a bunch of "older folks" who regularily enjoy having adventures off of the system trails and their use is seen as lawful and positive.

    Far be it from me to dictate to others what to call a certain type of trail. I think you above many have earned the right to call a type of trail whatever you want. However, I am accutely aware that what I post here can and is being used against us more and more. And I refuse to give em any ammo.

    Also, what do you mean by an "unauthorized" trail? I'm not familiar with that description. Do you mean that the trail is not in the current inventory of trails under the current managment plan?

    I could be wrong but, I don't think that an old trail that has existed in the wilderness for 50 years is illegal just becasue it didn't make it into the current management plan.

  13. #13
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    doc - Were there just branches placed? Or was there diging, rock removal and/or soil destruction?

    This seems to be good discussion, but let's see if we can make some traction. I think that "non-system trail" or "social trail" both seem to be good terms to use. I am a responsible trail user and would like to continue my good track record. My understanding has always been that "A trail is open to travel unless posted otherwise." and in talking with another local rider, the FS is actively seeking a new management practice or definition "Trail is closed unless posted open."

    Let's face it, this would be devistating. How would this affect hikers? Are bikes being singled out in this latest FS effort? It certainly feels like it.

    More importantly, can we attend meetings or do something to head this off at the pass? I have never taken the time to be an activist. It feels to me like this is the time to reach out and do something for the mountain bike community in the Verde Valley. What is the most productive step moving forward?
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  14. #14
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    This was forwarded to me as the link for the local bike advocacy group. Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition. http://vvccfriends.ning.com/

    Joining this seems like a good place to start.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CANADIANBACON
    Doc:

    I agree. I like the term Social Trails and agree with you that it is descriptive and fitting. I choose to use "non-system trail" because it can't be co-opted.

    I don't know if you are aware but, more recently in Sedona people who use "Social Trails" are being branded as law breakers and the like by some influential groups. Where conversely there are a bunch of "older folks" who regularily enjoy having adventures off of the system trails and their use is seen as lawful and positive.

    Far be it from me to dictate to others what to call a certain type of trail. I think you above many have earned the right to call a type of trail whatever you want. However, I am accutely aware that what I post here can and is being used against us more and more. And I refuse to give em any ammo.

    Also, what do you mean by an "unauthorized" trail? I'm not familiar with that description. Do you mean that the trail is not in the current inventory of trails under the current managment plan?

    I could be wrong but, I don't think that an old trail that has existed in the wilderness for 50 years is illegal just becasue it didn't make it into the current management plan.
    Bacon:

    I wasn't specific enough so I will try and clarify. There was a trail in the wilderness I think was called Muffin Top. It was close to a well traveled Jeep Road and was less than 50 years old. That trail would be called illegal to biking since for the time being biking isn't allowed in the wilderness even though the trail was close to a Jeep Road that is traveled by thousands of people each year.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zul
    doc - Were there just branches placed? Or was there diging, rock removal and/or soil destruction?

    This seems to be good discussion, but let's see if we can make some traction. I think that "non-system trail" or "social trail" both seem to be good terms to use. I am a responsible trail user and would like to continue my good track record. My understanding has always been that "A trail is open to travel unless posted otherwise." and in talking with another local rider, the FS is actively seeking a new management practice or definition "Trail is closed unless posted open."

    Let's face it, this would be devistating. How would this affect hikers? Are bikes being singled out in this latest FS effort? It certainly feels like it.

    More importantly, can we attend meetings or do something to head this off at the pass? I have never taken the time to be an activist. It feels to me like this is the time to reach out and do something for the mountain bike community in the Verde Valley. What is the most productive step moving forward?
    Zul:

    Your offer is worthy. I would start by going over to the Forest Service Headquarters in the Village and asking them if they think that there is any way in the next 100 years that they will bring the social trail system into their regular system. Depending on that answer I would proceed accordingly.

    Like the new President talking to the Muslim world, you want to speak to them in a respectful tone so that you can get them to see the errors in their ways. Talk to them about how their children will be able to ride those trails and get into excellent shape rather than becoming a couch potato.

    If you keep speaking to them in a nice way maybe in four years they will change their mind. Have fun and let us know how it goes.

  17. #17
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    Traildoc By far one of the Best reply in a very long time.
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  18. #18
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    Something that needs to be recognized is that 90% of the riders who ride/visit Sedona have no business on most of the social trails out there as they are right now. Getting adopted and signed and mapped by the FS will probably lead to sanitizing to a level consistent with all the current system trails so the visiting tourons don't kill themselves.. Which will probably lead to more interesting social trails being discovered to replace the sanitized ones. I say stop posting pics and ride reports and have a secret handshake

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by azjeff
    Something that needs to be recognized is that 90% of the riders who ride/visit Sedona have no business on most of the social trails out there as they are right now. Getting adopted and signed and mapped by the FS will probably lead to sanitizing to a level consistent with all the current system trails so the visiting tourons don't kill themselves.. Which will probably lead to more interesting social trails being discovered to replace the sanitized ones. I say stop posting pics and ride reports and have a secret handshake
    Good point. It is difficult to imagine many of the social trails that utilize drainages/washes or have serious exposure meeting USFS criteria for adoption. On the other hand, the BLM in Moab allows the existence of Portal or Jacksons. It would be a pity if some of the trails that offer such a different riding experience than most of the system trails got dummied down. Rapids on rivers in national parks or USFS/BLM land that offer whitewater thrills to skilled rafters are not sanitized or the boulders blown up to make them easier.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by azjeff
    I say stop posting pics and ride reports and have a secret handshake
    Hhmmmm, what a great idea.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

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    Off the grid? I can think of at least one trail OTG that was extremely well built but is getting a little too well known now - besides, newbies could get hurt.

  22. #22
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    The Promised Pictures May Tell a Story

    Well, after the group ride today I went out and did a hike in the Dry Creek area and took a detour off of Girdner to check out the recently decommissioned trail. On the ride today a Sedona historian told me that trail was originally ridden in by equestrians around 20 years ago.

    The pictures of the branches (1-3) and sawed up tree trunks speak for themselves. The pictures (4 and 5) of the fresh horse tracks may be telling a story about a future equestrian trail next to the decommissioned trail. Time will tell. Note: that picture 3 indicates some lame headed biker was out there riding next to the debri on the trail, what's that about?
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    Thanks for the pictures. I'd make a bet for a pint of beer at Oak Creek Brewery that the Forest Service did not do this work. One, they did not sign the trail as closed. Two, the asthetics are off for government work. Those long branches are too much of a liability for a trail crew leader to leave his boss something to ding him on.
    I agree on the secret handshake. I have made some mistakes in my passion about sharing a ride experience because it is really so cool to be out there, I wanna say you gotta ride this, but it gets me and you in trouble.
    And SEE, I predicted the future. Already some joe is going around the pile of sticks!!
    There is a big difference between ripping and skidding.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalkpaw
    Thanks for the pictures. I'd make a bet for a pint of beer at Oak Creek Brewery that the Forest Service did not do this work. One, they did not sign the trail as closed. Two, the asthetics are off for government work. Those long branches are too much of a liability for a trail crew leader to leave his boss something to ding him on.
    I agree on the secret handshake. I have made some mistakes in my passion about sharing a ride experience because it is really so cool to be out there, I wanna say you gotta ride this, but it gets me and you in trouble.
    And SEE, I predicted the future. Already some joe is going around the pile of sticks!!
    Chalk:

    What has been your experience with FS decommissioning to have a feel about this project? Do you think some eco-warrior just went out there right next to Dry Creek Road and started chain sawing a bunch of dead trees down w/o FS permission?

    The thought is that the FS students in Flagstaff are putting their book learning’s into action. They have been studying the decommissioning section of the manual since September and now they are out practicing what they learned in class. Since there is no new trail building going on in this area, their practical experience has to come from decommissioning and installing vertical water slower downers.

    One of our local hikers is starting to take pictures and videos of the decommissioning projects for a documentary she is working on. One of her recent projects of the over fishing in the Sea of Cortez has gotten her several first place awards at different film festivals around the country. Hopefully the documentary will show the positive effects of decommissioning and maybe the FS will use it as a training film.

    Attached is one more picture. See the lizard head at the top of the red rock formation to the left of Gray Back?
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